Tag Archives: writing

Why Write?

PhotoCredit:Nofilmschool.com

PhotoCredit:Nofilmschool.com

Writing is hard. Not writing is harder.

Writing a book is hard but not writing it is unbearable.

Writing a book about your life is hard but not writing isn’t an option.

Writing a book about a past relationship is super hard.

Writing a book about a past relationship that included children and your role as The Girlfriend Mom is hellacious and cleansing.

Not writing?

Not an option.

People are waiting.

 

I Stand Alone… In a good way.

It’s difficult for me at times to celebrate my accomplishments, life experiences and the exciting journey’s that I’ve taken over the years. It’s always been, What’s next? What’s the new sparkly thing over there in the corner for me to try?

During such times, I write down my life in bullet points, just as a reminder. This proves especially germane when I’m feeling as if I have nothing worthwhile to show for myself.

My little bullet point exercise came in especially handy this morning, when I got an email from an old friend, and business partner. It was an announcement for her book launch. If one more friend or acquaintance publishes a book, I’m going to cut myself. There’s just so much a person can take. I know all the arguments. Their successes have nothing to do with mine. There’s room for everyone but, come on, sometimes it fuckin’ sucks. I don’t care how spiritual you are (several years of Kabbalah baby) I’m also human.

What I hated the most about the email were the self doubts that surfaced in me. Brief moments of insecurity in my abilities, and irrational questions like, Where’s my book? and What am I doing wrong? There’s something to be said for keeping your eyes on your own paper, burying your head in the sand and getting off of Facebook, so you don’t know what anyone else is doing or PUBLISHING.

There wasn’t a personal note in the email, just a xxoo with the invitation attached. Really? I’ve reached out to her in the past about one thing or another and she has never responded.

How does she ignore my emails and then have the balls to send me an invitation? The last time I heard from her, she invited me to a party promoting her television show. At the time, I was curious, less confident and also thought, you never know who you might meet, so I went.

I had a crazy conversation with Cyndi Lauper, so it wasn’t a complete waste, but when I got home, I took note of how the evening made me feel and I questioned my motives. Why did I go in the first place? Honestly.

I went because in the past, I lived vicariously through others’ successes. I felt important and like a somebody, just by being friends with or working with successful people. (Friend above included) Fucked up, I know. Instead of creating for myself, and taking a chance on my own talents, I stood in the wings, watching other people soak up their moment in the limelight, thinking that I was somehow a part of that light.

This is what I did with this old friend and business partner. When she hired me to write and develop a talk show for her, I was still quite green but excited about our partnership. I saw it as my entree into the world that I had dreamed about while watching, I Love Lucy, in our small two-bedroom apartment in Yonkers, NY.

I followed her around like a little puppy dog, hoping that her world would rub off on me. Bad idea and even worse for the ol’ self esteem.

After a couple of years, we ended our professional relationship. Our personality differences, and work styles, proved to be too frustrating. During one verbal exchange, she called me didactic*. I shouted back, “I don’t think that I am.” With no hard feelings, we went our separate ways. When I got home that night, I looked up didactic in the dictionary. Oops.

That was then and this is now.

After reading her email, I took out my list of bullet points, and got back to work. I stand on my own stage now, with my own spotlight. Needless to say, I won’t be going to the book party.

*DIDACTIC: intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive: in the manner of a teacher, particularly so as to treat someone in a patronizing way.

Things I’d Like To Do: August 31, 2004

While organizing my lovely new office, I came across files and files of crap. Chicken scratch scribbled on tiny pieces of paper. Clearly the beginnings of books, screenplays, genius ideas for genius projects. Projects that were never meant to be, so never released from their files. Quele dommage.

However, I did come across a list entitled, “Things I’d Like To Do: August 31, 2004”. It’s a long friggin list. I was either very ambitious back in ’04, or that was the year that I was seeing a life coach.

She instructed me to make lists and, “Put it out there into the universe.” Nothing was ever too far fetched or silly. She wanted me to think big. Thinking big was never (is never) my problem. Putting those ginormous thoughts into action is a whole other story… and post.

I’m including the list here. I’ve highlighted those that I’ve actually accomplished in one form or another. I’m sure everyone has their lists. Perhaps it’s in a file, tucked away in a drawer, or on your computer in that secret folder that we all have (you know the one, where we keep our naked pics) Oh, yeah right, like I’m the only one.

This type of list really forces one to take stock of their lives. But in a good way.

Enjoy and maybe you’ll share your own list one day. Universe, baby, universe.

– Learn how to ride a motorcycle and get a license
– Go skying diving- I did do Sky Dive Dubai, which simulated sky diving. Count?
Write another one-person show
– Get staffed on a sitcom
– Act in a sitcom
– Host a talk show
– Sell another screenplay
– Write another screenplay
– Write a musical
Find a soul mate, partnerYEAH!
Travel: Yoga retreat, hiking trip, South America, Australia, go back to Italy, South Africa, Ski trip
– Study with chimps or gorillas- Whoa, now that is thinking big… and a wee crazy
– Hire a personal trainer
Thin out my armsWHAT? But I did it. Pilates, kids. Pilates.
– Cut a record
– Learn Italian
– Perform in a Broadway musical
Participate in a walk-a-thon
Stop my hair from thinning
– Have a baby
– Go on a rock climbing trip
Practice rock climbing at the gym
– Go hang gliding
– Go parasailing
– Work with down syndrome kids again
Volunteer with the elderly
– Get more involved- That’s just too general
– Find a job that will pay me to move back to NY- have places on both coasts. I was living in L.A. at the time. 
– Get a chef or be able to afford having food delivered- Eating issues. We’ll talk later
Take dance class
– Learn how to salsa
– Karaoke more
Heal my assFor a long time I had a coccyx issue and was in a lot of pain when I sat.
Learn Final Cut Express
Get an agent or manager
– Learn music recording program
– Step outside my comfort level more- I’m giving myself 1/2 credit here
Meet more people, new people
– Go to Shabbat more
– Bartend
– Audition at Plan B- This was/is a strip club in L.A. (I think it was a phase I was going through)
Take a pole class at Crunch or S FactorMaybe not.
– Go on a ride-a-long with the police. I dated an officer for awhile. Count?
– Buy a lot of sneakers. What?
– Fly back to NY every month
– Be able to afford weekly massages
– Take a religion class: starting from the beginning. When your religious education comes from the musicals, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and GODSPELL, you NEED to take a class.
Audit a one person show workshop
Get more proficient at the computer/ipod. iPod. C’mon, that’s adorable.
Learn Photoshop
Teach English as a foreign language
– Perform on a cruise
– Take a Krav Mag class
Go through an army basics type of class
– Horseback riding- restaurant trail- Griffith Park/Mexican Food. Okay, that was too specific.
– Learn how to juggle. In process.
More physical activity
Guitar lessons
– Drum lessons

The Power Of Procrastination

Early rise at 7:00am. The whole day ahead of me. No plans but to write.

I don’t get out of bed until 7:35 because I check my email on my iphone and text a friend birthday wishes.

I get dressed to work out and head upstairs to my Pilates Springboard.

I stretch and work out for 20 minutes. I’m feeling loose and clear headed.

It’s downstairs for a protein shake. I add peanut butter this time.

And then for the next three hours, I sit at the kitchen counter, in front of my computer, with my head up my ass, checking and rechecking FB and Twitter (for what I’m not entirely sure) I send and answer non-priority emails. I Google the name of the Rooster dinner plates sold at Sur La Table to see if they’re cheaper somewhere else. I also do a search for clear, plastic, magazine racks.

Lunch time already? I eat leftovers with my lover and vow, if only in my head, that when I’m finished, I will sit down and write. I’m beginning to feel like a poop stain.

I decide that I have to do laundry. We’re going away this weekend and I need my favorite jeans washed. They’ve gotten too loose, which makes my ass look like I’ve got a load in my pants. I want that, ‘just out of the dryer’ tightness.

I start panicking because we’re supposed to leave at 3:30p and I haven’t begun to pack and I feel rushed. I haven’t written a word.

I go back upstairs to the Springboard to stretch because all of the sitting that I’ve been doing makes my legs tight and achy.

After another 20 minutes, I head back downstairs to work.

My computer is dragging, freezing, and acting like a petulant child. I fear that I might lose data.

I find my external hard drive and start copying files. What about my pictures? All hell breaks loose (in my head). It’s been a long time since I backed up my iphoto library. I’ve forgotten how to copy my one thousand plus photos. 

It’s another hour and a half before I realize that trying to copy my photos on a computer that’s giving me the finger, is a colossal waste of time. F’it! If I lose my pictures, I lose my pictures.

Because I feel ashamed and humiliated at my ginormous unproductive self, I don’t give a rats ass if all I have to remember my friend’s kids faces are my memories.

1:56pm

I swipe my laptop off the counter and head outside to my deck because, while I’ve been posting my boyfriend’s car for sale on Craigslist, the sun has been shining, and the wind has been blowing. It’s a gorgeous day. 

I sit down but I can’t find an area at the table where there isn’t a glare.

When was the last time I cleaned my computer screen? It’s filthy. I go back inside to grab my dry cloth and iKlear. I’m sure I can use something else but I’ve been brainwashed by the Apple mafia.

Crap, I step on the wet mat outside the deck and now my socks are soaking wet.

I wipe the screen and feel a little cleaner. I sit down. I’m ready.

But now the anxiety of having to leave in four hours (I pushed back our departure time for fear that my jeans wouldn’t be dry) has taken up precious real estate in my brain. How can I start when I know I’ll have to leave soon.

I need more time. Maybe tomorrow.

I’m Going To Lose It

The Girlfriend Mom was kicked into high gear this weekend.

I decided to give my boyfriend a break, and take one of the Girlfriend Mom kids and his friend to the movies Sunday afternoon. Quite enlightening indeed.

When I was a kid my parents always gave me money if I went out with my friend and their parents. Whether my friend’s parents ever let me pay is unclear. The point is, my parents never assumed or presumed that my friend’s parents would foot the bill. It seems that things have changed.

We went to see Rio, doesn’t matter, and I paid for the three of us. Twenty-six smackers later, thank you very much. I was happy to do it. My boyfriend always pays when we’re out with the kids. This whole topic is a whole other blog. The question of who pays for what, where and with whom always causes me anxiety. Paying for the tickets wasn’t an issue, and I knew enough to offer the kids a drink and snack. I wasn’t going to be the cheap Girlfriend Mom. I knew the score. I know they have to eat.

The Girlfriend kid wanted some candy thing and his friend wanted a slushy. Blue, red, and disgusting. Another nine bucks. Still okay, still cool. The small slushy was ginormous and when the Girlfriend Kid asked for one, I had to put my put down.

“Why don’t you guys share this one?”
“We don’t share?” You don’t share? Isn’t that one of the golden rules? Apparently when you’re twelve, it’s every man for himself. I managed to get an extra cup and they shared it that way.

Everyone had their crappy nutritious delights and we found our seats in the theater. Things were terrific until two mothers and their kids (one being an infant) decided to seat right in front of us. An infant? You’re bringing an infant to the movies? I never understood this. However, when I opened my heart, I realized that some mom’s don’t have the help or the money for help, so they had to bring their breast feeding infants to the 5pm showing of Rio. One cry out of that baby, and I was heading to the manager.

About a quarter of the way in, I felt a push against the back of my chair. I decided to give it a little time, because maybe whoever was behind me was rearranging their wedgy or stretching their legs (don’t want to get a blood clot) After the third kick, I turned around and saw a little girl, probably eight or nine, looking right at me. Her legs didn’t even reach my seat, so I wasn’t sure how she was able to kick it, but kick it she did. I gave her the stink eye and asked her to stop. She stopped.

Things were good. The movie was good and I hadn’t heard a peep out of the breast feeding baby. Then the Girlfriend Kid’s friend got up. I thought he had to go to the bathroom. SIDEBAR: When I got home, I asked my boyfriend if 12 year old’s were allowed to go to the bathroom by themselves. He said that they were, but I’m not sure how much I trust a man who lets their preteen son watch R movies.

The Girlfriend Kid’s friend stopped in front of me, bent down and said, “Can I have some cash to get a snack?” WHAT?! I was flummoxed, mainly because I didn’t know if this was a 2011 thing that all kids do, or if this child was rude, with a side order of entitlement.

I told him that I didn’t have any cash (which was true) and I wasn’t about to give him a credit card. I didn’t know how to react. Was I wrong to say no? The fact that I contemplated this proves how much I have to learn. Again, I asked my boyfriend when I got home and he assured me that it was rude and a bit disrespectful. Hey parents, are you paying attention!

In the car ride home, the two little angels couldn’t stop playing with the seats (don’t be breaking my Mini) turning up the radio to uber loud, and listening to the most inappropriate song that I have ever heard. When I told them to shut it off, the Girlfriend Kid, laughed and told me to, “Calm down. I’m turning it off.”

I can’t calm down, I don’t know what to do. Do I let you listen to it? I admit that I had a mini freak. Total mini. I didn’t want to hear the lyrics nor did I want to be around when they listened to them. I’m no prude but that shit was fucked up.

When we got home, they decided that the movie wasn’t entertaining enough, so they got their rifle bb guns, and took target practice at a street sign in our backyard, while perching themselves on our deck. The bb’s are soft pellets but I am anti any kind of gun, and shooting, so this was a bit hard to swallow, let alone watch.

They didn’t wear goggles at first but when one of the guns accidentally went off, they scampered around for glasses. The deck is off of the kitchen, where I was trying to work. I’ve been sitting so much, that I wanted to stand while I write, and the kitchen cafe table is just the right height. Riveting info, eh?

I had one eye on my computer screen and the other on the shenanigans out back. The next thing I see is the Girlfriend Kid’s friend wearing my $250 dollar Gucci sunglasses (From Italy not Canal Street) nonchalantly walking passing me in the kitchen, on his way outside. Goggles, Gucci, same thing.

Are you fucking kidding me. I ripped the glasses off of his head so fast, I think I took a few of his hairs with it. No one asked permission, it was a friggin free for all. They were officially running amuck, and I was losing control.

Forget about the writing, I now had to supervise. They decided that the street sign wasn’t fun anymore, so they grabbed a few tin cans out of the recycling bin and set those up on the deck railing. I watched, waiting for something horrible to happen. It didn’t but the cans blew off the deck and lay motionless on the grass below. I didn’t say a word because I wanted to see how long it would take them to retrieve them.

Not five minutes later, I see the Girlfriend Kid riding across the pristine green yard, on his scooter. I opened the deck door and screamed, “Please don’t ride on the lawn.” To which he replied, “No, it’s okay.” I was incredulous. Mainly because he didn’t see anything wrong with riding a motorized toy in the yard that we share with another townhouse. I screamed back, “No, it’s not okay. You’re riding on the neighbor’s grass.” I was pretty confident that they wouldn’t want tire marks on their lawn.

Don’t these kids know how to sit in a chair and read?!

They walked back into the house, and I reminded them to pick up the tin cans from out back. I forget nothing. I received head nods and went upstairs. Suffice it to say, the cans weren’t retrieved until the next morning, when I reminded them yet AGAIN. 

The Girlfriend Kid’s friend slept over and, even though I told them to keep it down, because my boyfriend was still sleeping, his friend started shooting baskets on the indoor basketball hoop that hangs on the front door. I’m convinced that some kids are dense, deaf or both.

I quickly got dressed and left the house. I had to run errands before heading to my parent’s house for Passover, and I couldn’t listen to the television or the basketball stomping for one more minute. When I returned, his friend had been picked up, thank you Jesus, and the Girlfriend Kid was in front of the television set, exactly where I left him.

The cleaning lady arrived with her two kids in tow. What?! Today? Bad weekend to stop my meds. She brought the kids a couple of other times, when they were on vacation and they helped her clean. I realized yesterday, that this isn’t okay. My boyfriend and I don’t think it’s appropriate and it makes us uncomfortable. I’m going to have to have a little talk with her.

So while her kids emptied trash and cleaned toilet bowls (Seriously?) the Girlfriend Kid continued watching TV, as if nothing was going on around him. My boyfriend decided to make a late morning breakfast, so while we ate in the dining room, watching some crap rap video on the TV, the cleaning ladies’ son windexed the television stand. It was BEYOND awkward.

I looked at my boyfriend and told him that I had to get out. The chaos, noise and awkwardness was too much for me. I was unraveling. To the gym!

I finished my workout and headed back home. Please god, let the cleaning lady and her crew be gone. I can’t handle seeing them, even in my zen state. They were just pulling out of the driveway as I was pulling in. Whew. I was exhausted. I cannot imagine doing this on a daily basis. Brava to moms everywhere.

Let the Kid Write It

I had no idea that I would be reliving some of the ugly and embarrassing events of my childhood through my boyfriend’s kids. And how is that possible? We’re not even related!This past weekend my boyfriend’s twelve year old son (one day I’ll make up a name) asked me to proofread a paper that he wrote. I read through it, made basic grammar corrections, and suggested deleting a few words to tighten it up, you know, trim the fat. He agreed with all but one, and just as I was about to push it, reminding him of who the writer in the room was, I gave myself a time out. Now for the ugly and embarrassing part of the show.

This scene played out thirty years ago. My father often helped me with my homework, especially when it came to writing papers, and anything about World War II. He was so damn smart and could write brilliantly on the fly. I, could not.

Sometimes, my father’s idea of helping me was to write for me. He’d compose in his head and then dictate parts of the essay, book report or college application that was due, while reading the New York Times, sitting on the edge of my bed (the man was that good) and I’d hurriedly write it down verbatim.

We were both culpable. He didn’t want me to hand something in to my teachers and have them think that his child was an idiot. I was impatient, and a wee lazy, so if he wanted to help, then that meant the sooner I could put on my long scotch tape nails and lip-sync to Cher’s, Dark Lady. And not just the song, but the entire album.

Dark Lady laughed and danced and lit the candles one by one
Danced to her gypsy music till her brew was done
Dark Lady played back magic till the clock struck on the twelve
She told me more about me than I knew myself

And that dear readers is more about me than you needed to know.

I’m no expert. I’m just the girlfriend mom, but doing your child’s work for them isn’t going to teach them much. I’ll tell you what it didn’t teach me; to think for myself, process, bad first drafts, rewriting, patience, confidence, and not to wait until the last minute to finish an assignment because Daddy isn’t always going to be there to rescue me!

This is why I kept quiet and let my boyfriend’s son write in his own words.

He called me the next day, wanting to know if I could input a few more corrections, and then send the document back to him. He originally typed the paper on my computer so he only had a printout.

When he said that there were more corrections, I got a pit in my stomach.What did I miss? Who read it and found more errors? Was it his mom? Great, now she thinks that I’m a writer who can’t spell? It’s not fair. I wanted to be the hero. I wanted to be the one that got him an A+ on his paper. Crap. Now everyone will know that I’m a fraud. Again.

I panicked and went to that icky place. I suck. I can’t even correct a twelve year old’s paper where the biggest word in it is ammunition. I started questioning every suggestion and correction I made. Maybe I was wrong about capitalizing Captain. I’m the person who quit teaching English as a second language in Prague. I had no right helping this child with his paper. Who put me in charge? Where’s your dad? Where’s my dad?

But I did help him and once I took my pureed thoughts out of the blender, I gingerly asked my boyfriend’s son, “So, who read the story and found the corrections?” I held my breath and scrunched up my, overdue for Botox injections, forehead.

“Charley.” “Who?” “Charley?” “You mean your friend Charley?” My boyfriend’s son was cute as he proceeded to tell me that, although he knew that Charley wasn’t a professional, he did find a couple of mistakes.

I hardly know where to begin. First of all, the fact that his friend read his paper and gave him ‘notes’ is adorable and hilarious! Secondly, that he acknowledged that, “Charley isn’t a professional like you”, was quite astute for a twelve year old. He didn’t actually say the ‘like you’ part, but it’s obvious that’s what the subtext was.

The two corrections turned out to be typos. With my reputation in tact, I now wait to see what his teacher thinks. Clearly, it’ll be a direct reflection on me… and my dad.